Glamour Photography by Jay Kilgore
It was bound to happen, CPI has closed down Sears and Walmart portrait studios.
Why was it bound to happen? Because they weren’t making any money! I tell every photographer that I run into that we should be charging. Why? simple; it costs money to do what we do. Buying new gear costs money and for those photographers who have wives, mortgages, car payments, etc, buying a 1,200.00 lens or camera becomes expensive. With camera companies spitting out new gear every year, it’s difficult to keep up with the Jones’.
Sears and Walmart closed because they weren’t photo studios. They were mwac/gwc type establishments that preyed off those who didn’t have the money, or didn’t want to spend money getting real portraits done. When doing a family consult or even model consult, at least once a week I would hear “Walmart I can purchase an 8×10 for .99” or something to the likes. My retort was always “Do you really feel comfortable getting your photos taken at the same place you can buy toilet paper?” For the models I would ask “Do you go to your mechanic to get a yearly pap-smear? Or breast exam? If you answer yes, then Walmart would be great since you can go get photos then walk to the back and get your tires kicked…” Most would get the point, some would not and still go there only to be disappointed with what they got.
At the end of the day making money is what keeps us in business. For photographers, discussing money is a touchy subject since no one likes to talk about it, yet we work to master our craft and should be paid. CPI owed lenders $98.5 million, including $76.1 million in unpaid principal, as of March 13, according to published reports. This is in part, due to them charging .99 for a sheet of photos. Cheap isn’t always good and as CPI has shown, cheap puts you further into debt.
Are you working to avoid the CPI mistake? If you’re not charging now, do you have plans to do so in the future? How will you go from not charging to charging?
Knowledge is not free. Expertise is not free.
Everywhere I look now I see people teaching photography workshops. I see good photographers, great photographers and really terrible photographers teaching. I am asked if the large mix bothers me and to that I say “NO!” Each photographer serves a purpose and teaches each and everyone of us something. Yes, even the terrible photographer teaches us. Before we jump into the pros and cons of workshops, lets first cover the most basic understanding of them all;
Not everyone that is good or great at photography makes a great photography instructor!
I’ve seen many great photographers totally fail at photography instruction. How can this be? Simple; to teach means to have a vested interest in the growth of the students or photographers who attend the workshop. Many photographers don’t really have this interest, they’re doing it for the money, or the money that can be provided at future dates. This isn’t a bad thing, just something these guys need to be aware of. One main reason I’ve seen people fail at teaching photography is many people want to keep a lot of secrets to themselves. They feel they have secrets and that if they give it away, they’re letting go of the one thing they have over others in the industry. Sadly this attitude is about as archaic as the images lots of these guys shoot. With technology and knowledge evolving every three seconds, whats yesterdays secrets is tomorrows moot point.
There are many photographers who are still finding their style that are teaching. They really shouldn’t be teaching as they are learning who they are in the photography world, but it’s so easy to post a cheap workshop for 20.00-50.00 and throw up a light or two and do a factory lighting setup. Everyone will get mediocre images but as long as they’re shooting, they will accept said images. They (the attendees) dDetails
Jenna was the first female I had shot in Colorado!
She was far from the first booked shoot I had. The first ever shoot I had setup for Colorado was a young lady that I had spent about three months talking to. Her and I had gone over concepts, ideals and lighting as well as poses. The shoot was one of the most fully thought out shoots I had ever planned at that point. The day of the shoot gets here and she shows up ready to work. I opened the door and greeted her. She smiled and asked “Is Jay here? I’m here for the photo shoot” I told her I was/am Jay and watched as her face crinkled up and she said “But you’re black! You didn’t tell me you were black?” Borrowing from the great movie “See no evil, hear no evil” with the greats Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder I said “Whhhhaaat? What you mean I’m black? I’m not WHITE?” To help break the tension. It didn’t work, she said “This isn’t a joking matter. This is false advertisement, you never told me you were black!” Turned around and walked out. I ended up hearing from her about six months later after I shot a few of her friends. She wanted to give it another go and I politely declined advising her “I’m sorry, but I’m still black”. Not feeling good about my business in my new state, I was contacted by Jenna and she was eager to shoot.
This was back in 2004 so my process wasn’t what it is now. I had asked her for a few photos so I could see what she looked like. She sent some and I was impressed by what I saw. I made a point to throw out the fact that I was black as I didn’t want there to be any surprises. Jenna didn’t seem to care, only cared about when we could make our schedules meet to get this shoot done. I was impressed because she was 18 and seemed to have everything together. She showed up a few minutes early which was a shocker for me, and was ready to go. She mad made it a point to let me know casual and glamour was it. Nothing more, nothing less. I was ok with that and we booked the shoot! At the shoot she was relaxed and having fun. She was shy and nervous as this was her first time not shooting for her Senior Portraits, but I expected that. The shoot was nice and easy and pretty simple.
When the shoot was done Jenna kept telling me she had a wonderful time. I walked her to her car and we agreedDetails
If you’re lost on what we’ve covered in this series, the following links should bring you up to speed:
Now lets talk about model preparedness. So far this series has been about what you need to do to get ready for a career in modeling, but the one area I’ve stayed away from is shoot preparedness. I’ve held this off until now for the simple fact this is one of the most important aspects of being a model. As we all know, I don’t allow escorts at my sessions. As documented here, I go into great detail of my experiences that has shaped my views on the issue. Another reason I don’t allow them is because I don’t know the person you’re bringing. I don’t even know YOU, much less who you bring. While assaults can happen to anyone regardless the sex, I am not as worried about it as I should be, nor as much as the clients that step in front of my camera. One MAIN reason I dislike escorts is often times, the escort has MORE energy than the client for the fact the client is nervous and the escort usually WANTS to shoot. They end up taking over and I get better shots of them than the client. All this being said, I know exactly my intentions with the clients that come before me and my camera. I can and do assure them they are safer with me, than any other place on the planet as I would risk life and limb before I let anything happen to them. At the end of the day, the clients must do their homework.
A HUGE part of being a model isDetails
Noooo, not Genna, but Jenna!
Jenna was one of my first shoots when I moved to CO. I saw her and loved her look right away!
She was super awesome and a nice girl, a real sweetheart. My story about her is short and to the point but fun! Be sure and tune in next week for the Meet the Models segment on her!
Until then, enjoy these Old School Friday photos!
I remember the day clearly!
It was April 13th 2008 and I was getting ready to shoot Genna. I was referred her by a mutual friend named Tony. Tony had worked with her at another workshop and wanted her to be a model at my workshop/s. I reached out to her and set up a test shoot. It was late in the evening as she lived about 30 minutes away and was always either at work or at school. When she showed up (late, but ok) she had a spark to her that was the direct result of youthfulness. She was hot and she knew it, but not in a bad way. She was confident with her body and looks and that showed through in everything she did. As with every shoot I do, I take a few minutes to get to know the model and find out what s/he wants from me, the industry and life. She appeared to be doing it because it was fun and she wanted to see where it took her. We shot and laughed and had a good time all through out the shoot. This was one of the first sessions with my 40D and it held up perfectly!
After the shoot I had decided on the spot she would be a great workshop model and decided toDetails
the honesty’s too much…it can be a bad thing.
One of the questions I get asked by models and photographers alike is “What do you think of X’s work?” Back in my younger days I had no problem saying if I thought the person was good or not. As the years have gone by, I’ve shied away from such comments as I personally find it more of reflection on myself, than the person who’s work I am critiquing.
Let’s be honest; no one shoots the way we do! We are all our own individuals even if we try and copy another photographer or models style. Why? everyone has their own vision and way of doing things and regardless of how much we try to copy, we will never do it the way someone else does. We shouldn’t want to do it the way another does as well. Would you want to be remembered for “Shooting like Jay Kilgore”? Or be remembered as “Jay Kilgore, photographer”? I would rather be known for the work I’ve created that is unique and original to me, not for copying someone else s style.
As we create our own style and way in the photography world, we need to be mindful that other photographers, new or old, aren’t shooting for US as they are shooting for their clients. We all know what a technically sound photo is but anything above that is all open to interpretation. We as photographers need to be mindful of our audience when we are solicited for advice. For someone who’s work we can’t stand, there are hundreds others out there who love it. We only alienate ourselves by saying that person’s work sucks…even if it does. EVERYONE we come into contact is a potential customer, why turn down business for the sake of ego?
Always remember, for every person you’re saying suck, there’s someone else saying the same about your work! YOU have the ability to control what comes out your mouth, why not make it good or find a way to move on?
The pretty lady in the photo is Ms. Nadia Norimi a wonderful person and great Judoka. Image taken in the caves of Duluth, MNDetails
This weeks Old School Friday is Genna.
Genna has an amazingly great story and one that I’ve debated on sharing. If you want drama, suspense and ultimate overcoming, then this weeks Meet the Model will have all of it for you. Until then this is Genna.
These were taken with the Canon EOS 40D around the time of April 2008-September 20010
I first met Sera on Myspace! Believe it or not that’s how far back this one goes!
I was relatively new to Colorado and looking to make a splash in the workshop world here. I was hosting a workshop that had around five or six models and wanted one more. The workshop was Sunday and Sera contacted me and said she wanted to model. To be totally honest I don’t remember what all was said between her and I, but I remember her telling me she wanted to shoot some nudes. I had told her to hold off on that and we’d talk after the workshop and set something up. The workshop was lingerie.
Sera showed up and all was well. Phuong was the only one that had an issue, but all was well with the other ladies. This was back in the days when my workshops weren’t workshops but sophisticated shootouts and everyone was grabbing a body and just shooting. Because everyone was just grabbing someone, Sera was left out. She was more quiet and an observer and the guys were wanting to shoot, shoot, shoot! It didn’t help that I went over and sat down to talk to her. While we were talking, it dawned on me to start shooting so that’s what we did. While we were shooting, I explained to her my reasoning for not shooting nude at major workshops; it can get crazy out of hand. She agreed and while we talked, we shot some images:
After the workshop Sera and I kept in contact. I thought she was a sweetheart and fun to be around. This was around the same time ROCKSTAR magazine was having me shoot some of their pictorials. They contacted me and needed someone asap so I reached out to Sera. Being she initially said she was OK with shooting nudes I gave her the first crack at shooting and submitting to Rockstar. She agreed and we set up a time to shoot. The MUA showed up on time but Cerida was a bit late. She ran into issues that prevented her from showing up on time and I believe my MUA was a bit put off by it,Details
At this point in my career, I’m faced with “Writers Block” and it’s something that happens about once every two years. I think the biggest thing we need to realize is what causes this? Once we realize what the cause is, then we can start to put together the fix solution. For me, it’s constant shooting and being a photographer in demand. This isn’t a bad thing mind you! I love it in fact, but I’ve found that sometimes I just want to break away from what I do and do something different. Now I realize that while it sounds good, the fact of the matter is simple; breaking away and doing different is scary for me. I have my style and it’s very recognizable and I love it, but sometimes I dare to dream of doing something different like REAL fashion photography. I live in a glamour state so my chances of finding a height and weight proportionate fashion model are far and few in between, but one can dream right?
One of the biggest reasons of my lack of inspiration is simple; the loss of my Muse. Now she’s totally OK health wise, but my Muse and I are no longer shooting so I no longer have the inspiration to try new things. I’m currently looking for a Muse but the new one will have to meet all the criteria and I’m just having a difficult time finding that one. I have a few regulars that I shoot and they are extremely beautiful and wonderful people inside and out, but I’m a glamour guy so my new muse will need to be comfortable shooting nudes. This has been the problem along side the Muse needing to have the body type and INPUT as well. I am in a state that is surrounded by beautiful and fit women, but in the sea of beautiful and fit women I have to find the one that is RIGHT for me.
The last time I had “Writers Block” like this, I went on to change my style slightly yet in a way that was huge for my business. I expect nothing different from this “Writers Block” but I realize it starts with my Muse. I will find her, I know she’s out there but how long will I look?
I’ve spent some time looking at photos for inspiration and while that helps some, there’s nothing like creating your own images for inspiration. Due to the time of year (submission season) I have been shooting a lot, but I’m just not shooting work that I’m inspired by.
What do you do to stay inspired? Have you ever experienced “Writers Block”? If so, for how long? How did you break the funk?
The pretty little lady above is Ashley. I will fill the blog with images of her soon so stay tuned!Details
There is a quote running around the interwebs by Johnny Depp that states;
“My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story”
Excellent quote and one that is often quoted by models when faced with the desire to get more tattoo’s on their bodies. I love tattoos on people, your body your choice, however, the modeling industry has yet to catch on to the body is a journal. This subject is a very tense subject so I will try and approach it from a point of view that is more neutral than my normal posts.
In the good ole 21st century it is now common place to see tattoos on people everywhere of all ages, shapes and sizes. Your body, your temple, do with it as you please. I will never judge you, however if you ask for my professional opinion, I will tell you to go slow with tattoo’s. I say this for many reasons some are because of your desired modeling career, others are because of your personal decisions later in life. I have yet to meet a model that is 100% proud of every tattoo s/he has. Every single model has one or two they wished they never got or are adding to it to make it “better” Tattoos are forever and few people realize this at the time they’re getting them. I remember in the late 1990’s the “tramp stamp” (tattoo on lower back) became the in-thing to do. Most females didn’t know why they were doing it, but they were doing it. Here’s a lesson for you; the reason why this fad started was for the fact that as you grow older and gain weight, that area of your body is the LAST to stretch out. With guys it was the tribal arm band. Quickly, those wore out and “Tramp Stamps” became a signal for “Easy” girls.
Tattoos aren’t prohibited in the modeling world,Details
This is Sera.
I met Sera years ago shortly after I moved to Colorado. She had contacted me to model and as it happened, one of the magazines I was regularly shooting for was asking me for new and fresh faces. I asked Sera her thoughts and she agreed. I had several sessions with her and Wednesday on the Meet the Models segment you will meet her!
These are from 2005 with my trusty Canon EOS 20D!
She learned how to blow a bubble at this shoot. And people say I don’t teach anything!
My facebook page hit 700 “likes” over the week so I posted an edited image.
Here on the blog, you guys get the unedited one!
Make sure to “like” the page!Details
I don’t remember when I first came into contact with Amelia! I know it was via facebook and being it was October 2009 I’m assuming it was because of a mutual friend Maeggy. Either way, I remember when she contacted me I thought she was pretty. She was fun and kind of hard core with how mean she was to me. I liked her right away. We had agreed to shoot and set a time for right outside my home. The location has a nice waterfall behind it so we went there to shoot. She showed up with a pretty blonde who wanted to shoot, but wanted me to beg her to shoot. Didn’t happen so she changed into some of Milly’s clothes and jumped in a few photos. I had a fun time shooting her and vowed to do it again soon. She became difficult to reach and after this initial shoot, it had been weeks since I heard from her:
After this shoot her friend added me on Facebook and we talked off and on. I asked her about Amelia and she said she hadn’t heard from her either. I had put a notice up looking for models for my Santa’s Sexy Helpers shoot and surprisingly got an email reply from Amelia. She wanted to be one of the lingerie clad models! I jumped atDetails
With this economy being in the toilet and crops and crops of new photographers popping up, every established photographer I know is looking for a “hook” to get by. I’ve seen some far fetched things from original and pretty cool, to originally crappy and “things that make you go hmmm”. One of the things I see that makes me cringe is photographers, new and old boasting about how many years they’ve been shooting. This makes me cringe for several reasons and I’m sure once I point them out to you, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. I understand we need a “hook” or something to not only catch the eye of the customer, but draw them in, but the number of years you’ve been shooting is about as relevant as a skirt on a pig!
When I’m looking at other photographers work if it be Facebook or model portfolio sites, I read a bit of their bios in an effort to get a feel for who they are to see if who they are on paper, matches their photos. Usually they do and sometimes this is good, sometimes bad. The first thing that puts me off is when someone says “I’ve been a professional photographer for for xx years”. The first thing that runs through my mind is “GREAT! Good for you! I’m so happy!” then the second thing is “Watch his/her images LOOK like they’ve been shooting for 20 years!” And often I am right! Some photographers look like they’ve not only been shooting since the late ’80’s, but like they still think it’s the late 1980’s! Their work is very dated and because they were taught lighting principals back when President Obama was known as “Barry”,Details
Happy Friday before New Years!
Today’s Old School Friday is one of my favorites Ms. Milly! I met her through an event I was having, an End of the Year Shootout and she wanted to be a model. I was surprised at how much character she had!
As you know, next Wednesday you will Meet her on the Meet the Models segment so until then enjoy these photos from early 2010
T.L. was another website referral model. The same guy that had referred several other girls to shoot, had referred T.L. and said she was going to do awesome. As soon as he started talking to me about her, I had my reservations. Why? you will see with in the next sentence or two.
T.L. was a dancer that wanted a pay site. Not one to judge, I give everyone enough rope to hang themselves. That being said, I’ve never had much luck with dancers showing up, or showing up on time or showing up sober enough to shoot. T.L. was no exception. The first shoot booked she flaked out on. I didn’t mind because I was paid for the session and it was a non refundable payment. The webmaster at the fee and life moved on. Same with the second shoot. By this time I was angered by the fact that yes, I’m getting paid for these sessions, they are taking me away from other things I could be doing. I told the webby that I was no longer interested in working with her and he could find another photographer to work with when it came to her. After a bit of negotiations and a kind heart on my part (enough cash to where it was difficult to say no) I booked a three strikes and out session.
She showed up!
Granted she was two hours late, she still showed. I had been doing this long enough and with enough strippers to know to not leave my home until they said they were there. This was the previous cases including this one. When I showed up she made a comment about me not being there when she arrived, but that she herself was a “little” late. Two hours is a little late? I let the comment roll off my back and opened the doors. Inside while she was getting dressed we talked a bit and I tried to get to know her. During the shoot I remembered why I loved shooting dancers of all genres; their ability to move and work the camera! Being a dancer of any genre means the person has absolute control over their body, a confidence in what they do. T.L. was no different. Her being an evening dancer meant she was able to falsely connect with the camera in a way I try to teach all models who step in front of my camera! We got some then, great images an done of them is one of my most notable nudes ever:
Today is Christmas if you celebrate it so Merry Christmas! If you don’t, happy Tuesday!
Since today is a U.S.A. National Holiday there won’t be a technical Tuesday update, but here is a Happy Holidays photo from me.
This is Cassidy and she’s beautiful 😉 She’s wishing you a Merry Christmas as well!Details
Last week we discussed five mistakes new and some existing photographers make. This week let’s discuss models and the mistakes they make.
These posts aren’t to single anyone out or try to change the way someone does business, but here to educate, inspire and cause you to think about your profession as a profession.
5.) Don’t register a business:
MANY models are operating in a capacity that doesn’t make sense to me. While I won’t say they’re operating illegally-although some are, those that don’t have a business registered are operating in a way that’s…well…silly. Everyone at some point in their career want’s to get paid even if it’s reimbursement for gas to and from the session. If you don’t want to get paid today, you will at SOME point in your career, trust me on it. When you accept money for services rendered you are required to pay taxes on it. Not to mention by having a registered business you can write off a lot of things that you would normally buy; makeup, clothing, gas, food the day of shoot and even gym memberships! Yes! It’s all things that are tax deductible and ready to be written off! Don’t believe me? Talk to an accountant and find out for yourself. Also, if you accept $600.00 or more in payments from ANYONE that is a business or for services, you are required to report that and pay taxes to the government.
4.) Not knowing your genre:
Lots of young models want to take the modeling world by storm. I appreciate that and feed off it, but at the same time you have to be realistic with what you can do and the genres you can do them with in. If you haven’t read my “So you want to be a model” segment, take a moment to do so. It has honest info on the genres suited for height and weight. A photographer that says “Let’s shoot fashion” to someone that is not 5’8″ is doing the model a great disservice as that model will sadly and at this point in time, ever work as a real fashion model. Some new models will fire back with “But Kate Moss is 5’6″!” To that I will say let’sDetails
Yes, I know it’s Saturday and I’m doing the Old School Friday post today but give me a break! It’s a holiday weekend!
This is T.L. She’s one that was referred to me to shoot for a site and an interesting one at that. She’s a dancer and while you may find it stereotypical in my saying it, I will explain more on Meet the Models Wednesday. Until then, these were shot with my trusted Canon EOS 40D in 2008.